Opinion | Larry Hogan: I’m Not Seeking the Republican Nomination for President

I truly appreciate all those around the nation who have for many years encouraged me to run for president. After eight years of pouring my heart and soul into serving the people of Maryland, I have no desire to put my family through another grueling campaign just for the experience.

I would never run for president to sell books or position myself for a cabinet role. I have long said that I care more about ensuring a future for the Republican Party than securing my own future in the Republican Party. And that is why I will not be seeking the Republican nomination for president.

Since Donald Trump won the nomination in 2016, I have fought to make clear that our party cannot be successful if we put personality before principle, if our elected officials are afraid to say publicly what they freely admit behind closed doors, and if we can’t learn from our mistakes because of the political cost of admitting facts to be true. In 2020, the party didn’t even bother passing a campaign platform. For too long, Republican voters have been denied a real debate about what our party stands for beyond loyalty to Mr. Trump. A cult of personality is no substitute for a party of principle.

I believe the tides are finally turning. Republican voters are growing tired of the drama and are open to new leadership. And while I’m optimistic about the future of the Republican Party, I am deeply concerned about this next election. We cannot afford to have Mr. Trump as our nominee and suffer defeat for the fourth consecutive election cycle. To once again be a successful governing party, we must move on from Mr. Trump. There are several competent Republican leaders who have the potential to step up and lead. But the stakes are too high for me to risk being part of another multicar pileup that could potentially help Mr. Trump recapture the nomination.

I continue to be inspired by the example of our founders. They believed that the work of our democracy was meant to be done by citizen leaders, not a permanent political class. Public service was supposed to be a temporary sacrifice, while the work of citizenship lasts for a lifetime. I’m not a career politician, and that has never been my aspiration. I’ve spent nearly my entire career founding and running businesses, and that’s what I’m going to go back to doing.

An encouraging trend for Republican politics lies in the fact that the excesses of progressive elites have created the opportunity to attract more working-class voters from all different backgrounds. But many in the Republican Party falsely believe that the best way to reach these voters is through more angry, performative politics and bigger government. These are just empty calories that can’t sustain the lasting governing coalition necessary to restore America.

I still believe in a Republican Party that stands for fiscal responsibility and getting the government off our backs and out of our pockets. I still believe in a Republican Party that celebrates entrepreneurship and economic opportunity for every American. I still believe in a Republican Party that backs law enforcement and the rule of law. I still believe in a Republican Party that works to secure peace through strength in our dangerous world. I still believe in a Republican Party that can win not just the electoral college or the popular vote but sweep landslide elections with an inclusive, broad coalition of Americans and a hopeful, optimistic vision for America’s future. And I still believe in a Republican Party that upholds and honors perhaps our most sacred tradition: the peaceful transfer of power.

Some say this Republican Party is a relic of the past, but I disagree. In Maryland over the last eight years, we have earned overwhelming support not just from Republicans and independents but also from Reagan Democrats and Black, Hispanic and Asian voters. We did this by cutting taxes and regulations, turning the state’s record deficit into a record surplus, standing behind our brave police and leading the charge against elitist higher education policies by opening alternative pathways to success.

Our nation faces great challenges; we can’t afford to be consumed by the pettiest grievances. We can push back and defeat the excesses of elitist policies on the left without resorting to angry, divisive and performative politics. We can deliver safe streets, more economic opportunity and respect for traditional values without abandoning our limited government conservative principles and America’s role as leader of the free world.

I will stand with anyone who shares that common sense conservative vision for the Republican Party and can get us back to winning elections again. Serving as Maryland’s governor and chairing the National Governors Association was the honor of a lifetime, but elected office is not the only way to make a difference.

The work to build a Republican Party that can win and deliver for working people, not just talk loudly about it, has only just begun. Though I will not be a candidate for my party’s nomination for president, I’ve only just begun fighting for our future.

Larry Hogan is the former governor of Maryland and a former chair of the National Governors Association.

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